By Eric Rosario
Sen. Therese Terlaje wants better information from the Legislature's budget chairman and the administration so she can push the prioritization of tax refunds and critical services in an upcoming budget she fears needs to be less rosy than the financial people are letting on.
On Tuesday, she asked her colleague in charge of the budget, Sen. Joe San Agustin, for more information on the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021 so senators can be more prepared to debate it next week. One of the most important requests she made was for the formula Mr. San Agustin's Office of Finance and Budget used to arrive at revenue projections for next year.
Mr. San Agustin responded to her today: There's no specific formula they're using.
What in the #dumbestbunchever is going on with Mr. San Agustin and his OFB?
"I have asked the administration and OFB numerous times for the formula used to estimate FY 2020 revenues and FY 2021 revenues so that we can have a complete understanding of how the current economic downturn, tourism industry forecasts, and infusion of CARES Act funds were factored into the revenue projections," Ms. Terlaje wrote to Mr. San Agustin. "It is important that our revenue projections are grounded in formulas that the [Legislature] can have confidence in."
The budget chairman replied:
"The OFB has not changed its position on the projection on revenue estimates, and this estimate is generated with no specific formula. The formula is vast and revenues are established using historical data that include: the Consolidated Revenue and Expenditure Report; the Special Fund report; variables from natural disasters; economic disasters; economic and environmental factors and other data that is derived from regional and national crises."
Ms. Terlaje spoke with Kandit today and discussed the danger in relying on historical data to make predictions in a year such as this, where the numbers can't be trusted moving forward. She also discussed her other concerns with the budget process and her hope senators will be critical of what truly are priorities.
Watch this interview below: